Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bill Monroe Movie Update

American actor Peter Sarsgaard will star in an upcoming biographical motion picture (biopic) about the “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe, the man who almost single-handedly invented a musical genre, one of very few original American music art forms: 'Bluegrass Music'.

Sarsgaard is a longtime fan of Monroe and will play the lead role. He approached script writer Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise) about helping to rewrite the first draft of the script. Khouri is wife of musician/producer T Bone Burnett (music producer for the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou”). While the bluegrass biopic is in the early stages of development, the soundtrack is already being produced.

Bill Monroe's professional career began as a square dancer in the early 1930’s on Chicago’s WLS Barn Dance radio program and spanned more than half a century, 62 years to be more precise. He recorded for MCA Records for nearly 50 years. Monroe has been inducted into the International Bluegrass Music "Hall of Honor”, Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, just three years before his death in September 1996.

Pendleton Vandiver (Monroe's "Uncle Pen") was enormously influential in Bill Monroe’s life. After the death of his parents, Bill, then age 16, lived with his Uncle Pen in a small log cabin on a hillside, across the railroad track from the Rosine General Store in Rosine, KY. Uncle Pen taught him mountain songs and fiddle tunes, which Bill transposed onto the mandolin, making him one of the first to play the mandolin in this melodic style. Uncle Pen’s fiddle was acquired by business entrepreneur Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Kentucky. Terry was one of the most instrumental people in establishing the
International Bluegrass Music Museum [IBMM] and Int'l Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA]. Woodward has gifted the ‘Uncle Pen fiddle’ to the museum for the duration of the IBMM’s upcoming Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration, which opens September 10, 2010.

This legendary fiddle, arguably every bit as deserving of the icon status as Monroe's Gibson F5 Mandolin, has been used in recent recording sessions by fiddlers Tim O’Brien, Ricky Skaggs, Stuart Duncan and Fletcher Bright to record the soundtrack for the film production of Bill Monroe’s life.